A 19-month-old toddler has a 50/50 chance of survival after a stun grenade thrown in his crib by SWAT police executing a "no-knock" drug warrant left him in critical condition.
The child, Bounkham Phonesavanh, suffered serious burns on his face and body and is now in a medically-induced coma. His mother, Alecia Phonesavanh, says everyone in the house was asleep when the officers entered the home around 3 a.m. :
Everyone's sleeping. There's a loud bang and a bright light. The cops threw that grenade in the door without looking first, and it landed right in the playpen and exploded on his pillow right in his face...It blew open his face and his chest. Everybody was asleep. It's not like anyone was trying to fight.
According to the NY Daily News, The Phonesavanhs were visiting Georgia after a fire at their Wisconsin home. No charges have been filed against either of the child's parents.
Officers say a criminal informant purchased methamphetamine at the home earlier that day from another man. He was found at a different house later on and it is unclear if any drugs were actually found during the raid.
County Sheriff Joey Terrell said all of the officers involved feel terrible, but he stands by the action, which he says followed protocol:
There was no clothes, no toys, nothing to indicate that there was children present in the home. If there had been then we'd have done something different... You're trying to minimize anything that could go wrong and in this case the greatest thing went wrong.
But the child's mother rejects that notion and says there were plenty of signs of the boy and her three daughters were present:
They say there were no toys [but] there is plenty of stuff. Their shoes were laying all over.
Aiyana Stanley-Jones and Jose Guereena, both killed in no knock raids
No-knock warrants allow police to enter a residence without announcing their presence and this isn't the first time innocent people, including children, have been hurt and killed by these military-style raids.
Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot and killed by a SWAT team executing a no knock warrant during the filming of the television series The First 48. That case also involved questionable use of a stun grenade, which some believe was used for cinematic effect because of the TV film crew's presence.
The nature of no knock SWAT raids often leads to lethal confrontations with armed homeowners who believe they are responding to a home invasion. Such was the case with Marine and Iraq combat veteran Jose Guereena, who was shot 60 times by Arizona police.
Via NY Daily News